Rosh Hashanah

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2017 and has been republished with updates.

For Rosh Hashana, more than 350 members of Uganda's Namutumba Synagogue dressed in white, chanted their prayers and feasted on a slaughtered cow to mark the beginning of a new Jewish year last week.

"We are so happy that we entered the new year with such joy and happiness," said Namutumba's spiritual leader Shadrach Mugoya Levi by telephone from Uganda.

At Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland last week, Rabbi Bradd Boxman told the congregation there was an elephant in the room. The elephant was a prayer, or a piyyut, a liturgical poem, that has been recited during the Jewish New Year for centuries.

The prayer, the Unetaneh Tokef, is about who will live and who will die in the coming year, and how. It involves asking to be inscribed in the book of life, to remain among the living. 

Hurricane Irma left the congregation of an area synagogue homeless just as the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins Wednesday evening. But a local church has stepped forward with help.